Picture: By Vincent Venus for JEF Maastricht ©
If one asks the people of Europe what comes into their mind on May 9 many would probably shrug or at best refer to the victory over Nazi Germany. However, that same day only five years later shaped the history of Europe in a similar way. On May 9, 1950, the French foreign minister Schuman presented the plan of Monnet to create the European Coal and Steel Community – the first step towards the European Union. While the day is a public holiday in Kosovo most other European countries do not celebrate it. The European Commission and pro-European forces like JEF try to raise awareness for that day. You may find an overview of all JEF actions on a special website of JEF Europe.
Europe Day by JEF Maastricht
Next to my committment to JEF Germany I am also active for JEF Maastricht. Our section celebrated Europe Day this year not only in Maastricht but also Brussels. At the university library we handed out cake and drinks for free, played a Europe quiz and video taped the birthday wishes of our fellow students. You may find pictures here and the video below:
Meanwhile almost 30 JEFers and interested students went to Brussels to attend the Europa Forum of the German state television channel WDR which was broadcasted live in German and Austrian TV. Amongst the high-profile guests were for instance all three Presidents of the institutions, the Foreign Minister of Luxembourg and Germany, Wolfgang Schäuble, Günther Oettinger and several European Parliamentarians such as Elmar Brok, Alexander Alvaro and Dagmar Roth-Berendt. All in all, it was the perfect way to celebrate Europe Day for fellow EU politics-geeks!
All the speakers showed their interest in further European integration, Schulz and Westerwelle specifically calling for a stronger European Parliament, Steinbrück and Schäuble demanding a directly elected President of the European Commission. MEP Roth-Berendt argued that the focus in the EU currently is more on the internal market and not enough on the shared values for which she would like to tackle youth unemployment as a direct example, connecting young people all over Europe. You will find the pictures here.